We offer you trips that will get you close to the beautiful flora and fauna of Langkawi without harming the environment of Langkawi.

 

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At Langkawi-Nature, we provide well planned tours and an experienced guide who will make your visit to this enchanting island memorable!

Dev’s Adventure Tours: your gateway to nature!

News Column

November 2010

We are slowly heading towards the dry season and the weather has been good the last few weeks. As usual we had some quieter weeks which gave us the opportunity to catch up with some other things, to hold some meetings and to discuss possible improvements before the next peak season starts. I was lucky to be able to go with some friends on a mangrove boat trip and the photos in this column are all made by our friend, wildlife photographer Tom Reynolds, during various mangrove boat trips last week.

Otters in mangroves (Photo by Tom Reynolds)
Mangrove pit viper (Photo by Tom Reynolds)

A lot of guests are making their booking by mail before arrival and we are getting a lot of questions; I have made an overview of the most frequently asked questions which might help to answer one of your questions.

  1. Will the trip be on if it is raining? The trip will be on as long as we can ensure the safety of our guests. Most of the rain will come in short and heavy showers which might delay the start of our trips. If we expect the rain to be long and heavy we will contact you in your resort and give you an alternative, which is often to start a few hours later or the day after. Please note that during rainy days it can be extremely nice, especially in the mangroves.
  2. How big are your groups? We are working with limited group size to make sure that all our guests are getting the same attention and are able to enjoy the trip to the maximum. If we have bigger groups we will appoint more guides for that particular trip. The current maximum is 12 persons.
  3. Which trip is suitable for all ages? The mangrove boat trip is the only trip which is suitable for everybody; the physical effort is reduced to a minimum and all ages are welcome on this trip. For our other trips some physical effort is required but all trips are still suitable for everybody with a normal level of fitness.
  4. Mudskipper (Photo by Tom Reynolds)
    Why do you recommend to wear swimwear for the mangrove trips? During our mangrove boat trip a swimming stop is scheduled at a nice beach (please note that this is always subject to weather conditions and tide level!) and you will not have a private place to change your clothes, so it is best to wear your swimwear under your clothes. During our mangrove kayak trip there will not be a swimming stop but most probably your seat in the kayak will get wet and it will be more comfortable to get wet with swimwear.
  5. Should we book your trips in advance or once we are on Langkawi? Although we have many last minute options (especially outside the peak season) we recommend you to book one of our trips in advance if you only have limited options (or a certain day) to do the trip to avoid disappointment. If you have more days to do one of our trips there is no problem to book once you are on the island and in that case you can reach us by mail (info@langkawi-nature.com) or by phone (019 4949193).
  6. Do we need to pay in advance? There is no need to pay in advance, unless you are coming with a bigger group. Individual travellers (singles, couples and families) will be requested to pay the full amount on the day of the trip.
  7. Can we pay with credit card? Unfortunately we do not have credit card facilities at this moment, so all payments have to be made in cash. Foreign currencies will be accepted (only notes and no coins) but please note that the exchange rate will be less good compared to licensed money changers and banks.
  8. What other attractions would you recommend during our stay on Langkawi? Langkawi has many things to offer. Besides our trips which will give you an insight to the beauty of Langkawi in the nature field we can recommend a visit to the cable car, one of the waterfalls (Seven Wells is not too far from cable car), fruit farm, local night market, spa treatment, drive up the Gunung Raya (highest mountain of the island), a diving or snorkelling trip and one of the boat trips ranging from island hopping to luxury cruises, depending on your budget. Many options are available and will depend on your interest and duration.
Oriental Scops Owl (Photo by Tom Reynolds)
Oriental Scops Owl (Photo by Tom Reynolds)

For any information about our trips and/or other attractions and things to do on Langkawi you can always contact us at info@langkawi-nature.com; we will be more than happy to give you some recommendations which will enable you to plan your holiday. Hope to catch up with you in the next column.

Anne-Marie

 

September 2010 – extra

In the last column we mentioned about the incident where a python strangled 2 colugos at the same time. We were lucky to hear from one of our guests that they managed to make photos of it:

Photo by Marjo and Stephan Loois
Photo by Marjo and Stephan Loois

 

Photo by Marjo and Stephan Loois
Photo by Marjo and Stephan Loois

Thanks a lot to Marjo and Stephan Loois for allowing us to use your photos on our website and for sharing this with many others!

Anne-Marie

 

September 2010

Compared to last year we have had definitely less rain on Langkawi so far. Weather is still an unpredictable factor as it is all over the world; the climatic changes are obvious and will make it difficult to foresee what we will get the next weeks and/or months. Although we realise that not everybody likes the rain, it should not be a reason to cancel a trip as the rain might give a complete different view of the mangroves or jungle and sometimes even more wildlife can be spotted. We will always keep an eye on the safety aspects during the trip and we will postpone or delay a trip if we deem this necessary to guarantee the safety of our guests.

Colugo (Flying Lemur)
Reticulated Python

A very exciting incident happened in the jungle during the last week of August. During the regular evening walk Dev spotted a python who was strangling 2 colugos (flying lemurs) at the same time. The python was about 3 meters in length and was curled around a tree where the 2 colugos were hanging on and the python managed to strangle both of them. At the same time we had two groups for a jungle trek / evening walk with Jerome and Khirien in the same area so many guests have seen this rare incident. We do not have a photo of this but if you have been there and you happen to have a photo of it, we would be very grateful if you could share this photo with us. Please note that only the bigger pythons can be dangerous to humans; the smaller sizes like this one will never harm humans as long as you keep a safe distance and are not bothering the snake, which is actually a rule to keep in mind for all animals.

Orange-breasted Trogon - by Marloes Durinck

During one of the bird watching trips we managed to spot the Orange-breasted Trogon and even to make a photo of this beautiful and colourful bird that is difficult to spot although it can be often heard. Also the sighting of a Green Imperial Pigeon has been confirmed on the Gunung Raya by 3 persons during various trips the last weeks at about the 600 meters level.

The months of July and August were busy as usual as many countries are having a longer break during these months. We have seen many children on our trips and our guides really enjoy having them on their trips as they are very eager to learn more about the flora and fauna, are asking a lot of questions, and of course looking for and spotting wildlife is always the most exciting part for them. Many different nationalities have been on our trips in the mangroves and in the jungle during the last months.

We also have a lot of single travellers and although we need a minimum of 2 persons to start running a trip we always recommend to give it a try. As soon as we have a confirmed trip, a single traveller can be added. As long as we do not have a confirmed trip we will put you on a waiting list and get in touch with you once we have a confirmed trip. It even happens that we have a few single travellers on the waiting list that can be combined to get the minimum number to start the trip.

Clouded Monitor Lizard - by Ian Roberts
Clouded Monitor Lizard - by Ian Roberts

During most of our trips you might spot a lizard and these can vary in size. We have the Water Monitor Lizard and the Clouded Monitor Lizard and they can grow up to even about 3 meters in exceptional cases. The one on the photo is the Clouded Monitor Lizard and this extremely adaptable species occurs in a wide range of habitats, from scrub desert to rainforest. It is active during the day and at night it shelters in cavities. The food consists mostly of beetles and other insects, which it finds by digging in leaf litter, rotting logs and cattle droppings, but larger prey makes a valuable contribution to the diet. They reach sexual maturity after about 3 years and the females usually lay a single clutch of about 20 eggs early in the rainy season and the hatchlings emerge several months later.

Please feel free to contact us for more information on Langkawi in general, the flora and fauna of Langkawi or more specific information about our trips and we hope to catch up with you in our next column.

Anne-Marie

 

July 2010

As promised in the former column we would get back to you with more information about our newest guides and we are very happy and proud to introduce to you our team members:

Cammy joined us in the beginning of this year and she is our sales & planning coordinator, manning the office on her own. She is handling your phone requests most days of the week and she is taking care that all the arrangements for the trips the next day are made in a smooth way for our guests, our guides, the taxi drivers and the boat men. In case you want to visit our office we recommend you to give a call first as Cammy might be out to visit a resort, guide or guest.

Dev is the co-founder of the company and well known to many people. With his experience of more than 20 years on the island he is a walking encyclopaedia in many fields. As the most senior guide he has been responsible for training the other team members in various outdoor activities. He is a keen birder and besides bird watching trips you might see him on a mangrove trip by boat or by kayak or in the jungle.

Since October 2009 Khirien started to work for our company. Working in one of the resorts we are contracted to we found out that he had done a nature guide course and, after approval of his general manager, he left the resort started with us. Khirien has developed himself very quickly and is always busy reading and learning more of all natural aspects. He loves kayaking in the mangroves, but you might see him on any of our trips as he is very versatile.

Jerome is our newest guide and he joined our company in April this year. Jerome used to work for a well-known Outbound Outward School where he gained experience with all kind of outdoor activities and adventure staff. He is keen on jungle treks and has a profound knowledge of caves and all you can find in and around caves. Besides the jungle you might see him in the mangroves whether this is by boat or by kayak

Mandy is the only female guide at this moment and she is also the only one with a double function. In the weekends she is handling the office with the phone calls and the necessary arrangements and during the week she is one of our naturalists. Before she joined us two and a half year ago, Mandy has been outdoor instructor and facilitator and she is well known with all kind of nature activities. She has also completed a four-week long expedition to Borneo with World Challenge Australia. Being one of our most active guides you might see her on our jungle trek, nature cycling or kayak trips.

Last but not least is our free lance guide Selva, who is helping our company since a few years and his specialism is the mangroves. During one of his mangrove boat trips you will be loaded with useful information and learn a lot that you would have never thought of in other circumstances. He is a real conservationist and is doing his part in educating the youths of Langkawi in the nature field. He is also running trips to Penang and if you are interested in culture and want to try different food, this day trip is recommended.
In general all our guides share a passion about nature and they are all very keen to give you a good view of the existing flora and fauna that we fortunately still have on Langkawi. They are more than happy to answer your questions during one of the trips and they will do their utmost to give you the best possible during their trips. They all hope to see you soon or again!

Hope to catch up with you in the next column.

Anne-Marie

 

May 2010

Changeable Hawk Eagle - by Tom Reynolds

Two months after writing the former column we can inform you that we are finally getting some rain over here. We are talking about very local and short rain showers and definitely less than what we used to have at this time of the year. But nature is happy with this natural water supply and so are we, as it at least dropped the humidity to a more bearable and convenient level.

It also benefits our trips in terms of spotting birds and there are some species easier to be spotted with some rain or directly after the rain. We were surprised to see a Cinnamon Bittern during one of our mangrove trips as this is not a common sighting in the mangroves and we were also lucky to watch a hunting Changeable Hawk Eagle in the mangroves which was spectacular.

In the area where we are running our morning and evening walks as well as our jungle treks we have been lucky to see Wreathed Hornbills perched in one of the trees at the Berjaya Resort. Normally we see this hornbill species around the Gunung Raya (the highest mountain in the middle of the island). The Berjaya Resort was also the ground where Aida, one of our naturalists, saw the Lesser Mousedeer and it is not that often that this animal, which is one of the smallest ungulates in the world, can be spotted. The Lesser Mousedeer is 20cm and only weighing 1-2kg with small and delicate legs and the upperparts are generally reddish-brown and the underparts are white with dark inverted V on the throat. It lives in the understorey of tall and secondary forest, where it is active by both day and night. Diet includes fallen fruits, young shoots, leaves, buds and fungi. Being usually solitary they only come together to breed and they breed year round, giving birth to single young after a gestation period of 5 months. The young are full grown and ready to breed at 5 months.

Gunung Raya
Gunung Raya

A few weeks ago I did an activity which was already on my mind since the moment I arrived on Langkawi more than 4 years ago and that was walking down the whole road of Gunung Raya. I parked my car at the bottom of the mountain, waited for a taxi on the main road to bring me up to the top and at 9am I could start walking down. The road is good, the views are really stunning and it was really amazing to walk for hours and hours and hear all the jungle sounds, to watch the birds (many different bird species), spot the animals (monkeys, squirrels, scorpion, lizards, millipedes) and just enjoy the surrounding.

Gunung Raya
Gunung Raya

It took me longer than expected and with many stops along the way I finally came down after 5 hours. I can definitely recommend to do this, as this is beautiful area to enjoy nature to the fullest and to see many animals and birds. Starting earlier would have been better to avoid the heat during noon and bringing a lot of mineral water is definitely a must. Starting half way the mountain is of course a good option too as the whole road down might be a bit too much to start with. For more information about this walk please send us an e-mail (info@langkawi-nature.com).

Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our very knowledgeable and passionate naturalist Aida as she is starting with a new challenge in Borneo. She has been replaced in the meantime and in the next column I will get back with more information about our newest guides, who are thoroughly trained at the moment. Hope to catch up with you in the next column.

Anne-Marie

 

March / April 2010

It is Mid March and we are still in full dry season. We had only a few short rain showers but it did not look like an indication of a real start of the rainy season. Many trees are flowering and really look beautiful, but we have to realise in the meantime that this is an emergency situation for the trees and that they are in real need of some natural water supply.

Cable car trek (photo by Aida Rahman)
Cable car trek (photo by Aida Rahman)

After a few extremely busy months it has slowed down a bit which gives us the opportunity to focus on some other things. We got a few times the question if the trek from the cable car down would be interesting and we have asked Aida, one of our naturalists, to try this out. The cable car has 2 stations: top station and middle station. The walk from the top to the middle station is the shortest and this will take you 20-30 minutes only. The walk from the middle station down to the bottom of the mountain will take longer and this will be 2.5 – 3 hours under good weather circumstances.

Cable car trek (photo by Aida Rahman)

The trails are clear and it is sometimes a bit rocky. There are concrete steps and there are even some trees with name tags on which makes it interesting. Along the trail Aida heard a lot of birds calling but only spotted a few, but she did see a lot of butterflies. The first part to the middle station was more interesting to walk than the second part as the surrounding is a bit the same and there is not much variety in plants and trees and she saw a lot of bamboo. During the second part there were some wooden bridges with rotten wood that she could not cross. As it was during dry season she could cross the dry river, but this would be impossible during the wetter months. In case you are interested to do this trek down, please always take a mobile phone with you. Although there is not coverage at all places, most of the trek will be covered. For more information about this trek you can always contact us at info@langkawi-nature.com

We are happy that the Government has appointed a waste management company for Langkawi. This was done after the Minister of Tourism paid a visit to the island and realised that some quick action had to be taken. We hope this will improve the situation in many fields.

Dev had a record of spotting birds during a bird watching trip early March; he spotted a total number of 61 species during 5 hours. The highlight was definitely the Pied Harrier, confirmed by 3 experienced bird watching guests and by other bird watching experts on the island.

Eurasian Otter (photo by Tom Reynolds)
Eurasian Otter (photo by Tom Reynolds)
Eurasian Otter (photo by Tom Reynolds)

During one of the mangrove boat trips we were very lucky to see a pair of Eurasian otters. They were very playful with each other and did not bother at all that the boat with our guests was that close. They seemed to be more interested in each other which gave us a fantastic view and a lot of time to watch them. The same trip we spotted the Mangrove Pitta, a colourful and beautiful bird, which is not that easy to spot.

We are always trying to improve our standards and quality level. If you have any suggestion for us we would be happy to hear from you. Hope to catch up with you in the next column.

Anne-Marie

 

February 2010

We are in the middle of the dry season and that is what you can see all around you on Langkawi. The heat is taking its toll on the deciduous trees and they are dropping their leaves. The lack of rain is a kind of emergency situation for the trees and this will lead to flowering soon.

Thirsty Dusky-Leaf Langurs
For animals the dry season can have its disadvantages too as they have to look harder to find water sources and this will lead more often of spotting for example monkeys in the villages trying to get some water.

As this is also peak season for Langkawi with many guests coming in, they are all enjoying the sun, the high temperatures and the lack of rain as this was for most of them exactly what they were looking for. There is no worry about the weather situation and all trips can go on as planned.

We went out again to try to spot some whale sharks but were not lucky. However we were happy to spot some porpoises along the coast. Porpoises are related to whales and dolphins and the most obvious visible difference between the two groups is that porpoises have flattened, spade-shaped teeth distinct from the conical teeth of dolphins and short beaks. Porpoises tend to be smaller but stouter than dolphins. They live in all oceans and are predators, using sounds to locate prey and to coordinate with others; they hunt fish, squid, and crustaceans. Although they are capable of dives up to 200 m, they generally hunt in shallow coastal waters. They are found most commonly in small groups of fewer than ten individuals.

Langkawi is a beautiful island with many places to explore and many locations that you can visit on your own. We would like to emphasize not to take any unnecessary risk while you are on a holiday. Check sign boards at the locations and stick to what they recommend you to do or not to do, do not go into the sea after sunset, do not go off the beaten track in the jungle and be careful while driving on your own around Langkawi, whether this is by car or by motorbike; you might think that you are a good driver but there might be other traffic participants less capable than you, which can cause dangerous situations. If you want to join a trip, there is a choice of many operators on Langkawi; we recommend you to make sure that they will meet the general and your safety requirements before signing up for a trip.

Wreathed Hornbill (Photo by Christina YM Chan)
Changeable Hawk Eagle (Photo by Christina YM Chan)

Bird watching is like usual big fun during the dry season months. During a 5-hour bird watching you will be able to see about 40 species and some of them are really exciting. We have added 2 ‘new’ birds on our list: Wood Snipe and Black-Crested Bulbul, both migrants. Many Great Hornbills can be seen at the Gunung Raya at this moment including the nest of a Hornbill couple. Bird watching is not only for experienced bird watchers but it is a nice trip for everybody who loves nature. Most of the time during the trip we will spend on the Gunung Raya and this is a beautiful area anyway with stunning views. After the mountain birds we will try to spot some lowland birds in the paddy fields, around some ponds and in the villages.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Photo by Christina YM Chan)
Red-eyed Bulbul (Photo by Christina YM Chan)

We are very grateful that many guests are sharing their photos, taken during one of our trips, with us and that they even want to share them with us on this website. Thanks for all your support and help and please feel free to contact us for any kind of information or to share a story or a photo with us. The bird list is updated and can be downloaded from our website.

Hope to catch up with you in the next column.

Dev

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